Netanyahu government faces funding threat from largest donor organisation
Israel’s government led by Benjamin Netanyahu faces the threat of funds being suspended from one of the largest organisations which collects donations for the occupation state from Jewish communities around the world. The threat reveals further the extent of the growing protests against the government.
The United Israel Appeal — Keren Hayesod — has a “unique” fund-raising status and branches in 45 countries. Its headquarters is in Jerusalem. The branches in Switzerland have sent a sharply-worded message to the international leadership, in which they warned of the government’s actions and expressed their concern about what is happening in Israel. They specifically mentioned the promotion of the “death penalty law” for those carrying out resistance operations and demanded that the organisation’s leadership speak out against the government’s measures. The implication is that they will stop fundraising and sending donations to Israel.
“We collect [funds] for the people of Israel, ‘for the poor; for the elderly and for children’, but this does not work for us any more… Our mutual responsibility is not only about giving money, while we watch how this amazing vision called Israel, is being threatened and emptied out of values we believed, we shared,” said the signatories. They added that their support for Israel is “unconditional as long as “the basic principles of humanity are respected and as long as Israel continues to be committed to the principles of a liberal and democratic system.”
The letter pointed out that the signatories mourn the lost “Jewish and also the Palestinian lives” and casualties. “But after the death penalty [for terrorists] bill was passed on a preliminary first vote by the [Knesset], we cannot stand aside silently any longer. This was a redline for us. This is not the Israel we want to support.”
Nevertheless, they added: “We support Israel because we believe that even if we do not live there, it is also our country. This is why we stand with Israel whenever needed — unconditionally.”
The signatories called on the organisation’s leadership to make their voice heard. “It should be loud and clear. We need to know, hear and see, that the organisation for which we dedicate our time and our resources, an organisation that was instrumental in the building of Israel, is loyal to its charter and does not turn a blind eye to a real and immediate threat to the basic fabric of Israeli society.”
Israel has witnessed unprecedented demonstrations for more than ten weeks. Protesters are against proposals to be introduced by the government that limit the powers of the judiciary and make the latter subject completely to politicians.
The United Israel Appeal is one of Israel’s main fundraising organisations. It collects tens of millions of dollars annually in donations which are transferred to various associations and projects including education, welfare, immigration and absorption of Jewish immigrants in the occupation state.